Now, do not get too excited, I am not saying pick up the phone and order yourself a large stuffed crust pizza from Dominos but when you go back to the original and authentic pizzas you actually get a healthy and complete meal that ticks all the boxes of the important food groups. The pizza base gives you your carbohydrates, a healthy portion of vegetables will count towards your five a day and add some meat for some protein in the topping and then a sprinkling of cheese gives you your fat. If you want to be really healthy use wholemeal four or a wholegrain base and smear on a rich tomato sauce then pile on the vegetables and lean meat or seafood and finally top with a little low-fat mozzarella.
Most people generally avoid peanut butter due to its high fat content but if you choose the right brand a teaspoon of the whole-nut variety comes in at just 30 calories. So why is it good for you I hear you ask…? Well, research has shown that eating peanuts (the non salted kind) or peanut butter can actually help your heart; consumption has been associated with lower total cholesterol, lower LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and lower triglycerides, all of which are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk. And, the good news is these benefits seem to occur without promoting weight gain. Try smearing a teaspoon of peanut butter on a couple of oat cakes for a satisfying snack and under 150 calories.
Beer and Stout
Yaaass finally, beer is good for you! Recent research has suggested that a pint of beer (note: not lager) could help protect against heart disease, and maybe even more so than a glass of red wine. It’s all down to the presence of B6 which prevents the build up in the body of a chemical called homocysteine – thought to be linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease. And when it comes to stout, it seems the slogan “Guinness is good for you” has some truth too. Research published in 2003 from the University of Wisconsin showed that a pint of the black stuff is as effective as an aspirin in preventing blood clots, and much tastier.
Most of the chocolate bars that we eat from the shops are very high in sugar and fat hence why they get lumped with the ‘bad’ food label. But having watched the Channel 4 programme last year about Willie Harcourt and his chocolate factory I learnt that dark bitter chocolate is actually quite good for you as it is very high in health-promoting antioxidants which help to mop up harmful free radicals which cause cell and DNA damage. Similarly, becuase the chocolate is so strong and so rich if you do get that chocolate craving you will only need a few small squares.
I am a total sucker for ice cream, so it was a welcome read to discover some positive facts. Ice cream’s first positive relates to its GI or Glycemic Index; as ice cream is, in fact, a low GI food. This means that it releases its sugars slowly and so can keep you feeling fuller for longer which means you are likely to binge after eating ice cream, it is kind of like how you can never just eat one sweet…. well unless you have very good self control! Obviously ice cream is all about moderation and munching through a whole tub in one sitting is not going to be good for anyone, but if you are comparing desserts like for like, 75 grams of Ben and Jerry’s Cookies and Cream ice-cream contains only 114 calories compared to a slice of cheesecake with 511 calories – and is therefore the better option. Secondly, ice-cream is made of milk which contains many essential nutrients and vitamins and studies have shown a possible link between milk consumption and a lowered risk of arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, and colorectal cancer… bonus!!!